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The role of yoga in taking forward the philosophy of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’

25 Jun 2018

21st June, the date marked for being the longest day in the northern hemisphere has assumed a prolific significance post 2014. Pursuant to PM Modi’s address at the 69th session of the UNGA as a world leader, the United Nations had unanimously declared June 21 as International day of Yoga. 

PM Modi’s speech at the UN had a fine blend of tough minded realism regarding the various challenges that the world is fraught with including terrorism, climate change among others but also soared with hope when he paid tribute to India’s ancient civilizational traditions. Highlighting the philosophy of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ that translates into ‘the world as one family’ being intricate to its present approach in foreign policy extrapolates India’s prominence in the world fora.   A striking example includes the adoption of the resolution for the International Yoga day by the UNGA with an overwhelming majority of 177 countries that could be attributed towards the success of India’s ‘inclusive diplomacy’.

A factor that drives India’s present rising stature in the world platform is the government led by PM Modi has invoked an unique combination of both geopolitical imperatives and a ‘soft power matrix’ . Soft power is the ability to persuade others to perform something without any form of coercion. Since PM Modi assumed office in 2014, India has employed a blend of both powers which translates into ‘smart power’. With a repository of an astounding cultural ideals and traditions the country is the largest democracy with a seamless picture of diversity and unity rendered unparalleled anywhere in the world. In this context yoga forms an important tool that has successfully calibrated the effectiveness of India’s soft power outreach in its dealing both regionally and internationally.  This was adequately captured in PM Modi’s yoga event  at Dehradun where he declared that ‘From Dehradun to Dublin, Shanghai to Chicago , Jakarta to Johannesburg yoga has become a positive influence in the lives of the millions ‘ .

Besides outlining the wide variety of health benefits one attains through yoga, PM Modi also stressed on Yoga as a unifying force that ‘awakens a deeper sense of unity and oneness with the whole Universe and living beings’. This resonates with the philosophy of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ popularised by PM Modi which remains the first precursor of global citizenship as it is understood today. Stating International Yoga Day not as a brainchild of the Indian government, but rather a ‘reflection of the largest knowledge –based people’s movement in the world that the world has ever seen PM Modi outlines the significance of the concept of uniting humanity.

Thus the clarion call for unison emphasised by PM Modi on major international summits ranging from World Economic Forum Summit to the recent Shangri-La dialogue where he talked of a free , open and an inclusive world succinctly captures the spirit of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam ‘ . Ultimately this international binding through International Yoga day meant to foster a culture of inclusiveness, of fraternity and global family represents the new narrative of Indian diplomacy.

This blog has been contributed by a volunteer.

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